JONESBORO, Ark.-Coming off a tough loss on Saturday, Georgia State will look to bounce back and close out a two-game road trip at Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Ark., on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. ET in the Convocation Center.
Monday’s contest can be heard live on WIFN-AM 1340 The Fan 3 and WRAS-FM 88.5 with Dave Cohen, now in his 32nd year as the Voice of the Panthers, calling the action. Live statistics and live audio will be available for free at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.
Georgia State (11-7, 4-3 Sun Belt) shot 57.8 percent and received a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds from Markus Crider on Saturday, but gave up 12 3-pointers and missed nine free throws to fall to Appalachian State, 74-69, in Boone, N.C.
Despite the loss, the Panthers are 33-10 in the last 43 games dating back to last season and have also won 21 of their first 25 conference games since returning to the Sun Belt.
Georgia State is led by the scoring duo of Ryan Harrow and R.J. Hunter. The two are averaging 40.5 points per game, the tied for the third-most of any duo in the country. Iona is the only other school in the country with a pair averaging 20 or more points per game. The last time any team had a pair finish the season averaging 20 or more was the 2006-07 season when Hofstra accomplished the feat.
Hunter needs just 23 points on Monday night to tie Rodney Hamilton’s career school-record of 1,515 points. The junior moved into second-place on Saturday afternoon, moving ahead of Terrence Brandon.
Hunter, who has scored 1,492 points in his two-plus seasons, is the NCAA career active leader in points scored among all juniors. He is also the active leader of all juniors in the NCAA with 216 3-pointers made and 598 3-point attempts. He is 11th among all active players averaging 18.1 points per game for his career.
Georgia State has used a balanced attack on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball to win games this season. The Panthers are shooting 49.4 percent from the floor, ranked No. 12 in the NCAA. Georgia State is also averaging 73.9 points and allowing just 66.4 points per game.
The Panthers are also seventh in the nation with a +5.4 turnover margin, ninth in steals per game averaging 9.4 and 27th in turnovers, allowing just 10.9 per contest.
“Saturday was a difficult loss for our team,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “However, the one thing I know about this team is that they are resilient. Despite Monday night being our third game in five days, I know that our team will be ready to play and will want to get back on the court to prove we are better than the result on Saturday.”
R.J. Hunter was named Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year and is averaging 20.1 points per game this season, the 18th-best mark in the NCAA. He was named to both the John R. Wooden and Naismith Watch List which recognize the top 50 players in the country.
Along with being second on the scoring list, he is also second in 3-pointers (216), 3-point attempts (598) and free throw percentage (.828).
Harrow joined Hunter as an All-Sun Belt Preseason first-team member and on the Lou Henson Preseason Watch List as one of the top mid-major players in the country. Following a junior season in which he scored 604 points, tied for fourth most in program history, he could become just the fifth Panther to reach the 1,000-point career plateau in two seasons. He enters Monday with 951 points scored at GSU.
The junior is currently averaging 20.4 points per game, second in the Sun Belt and has score 20 or more points in five-straight games. He is second in the league averaging 4.5 assists per contest. He could move into the top 10 for a career in assists before the season is over, despite playing just two seasons.
Harrow and Hunter are both among the top 40 in the country in minutes per game, while Harrow is fourth in the NCAA with 140 field goals made and seventh with 285 total field goal attempts.
· Markus Crider has recorded two double-doubles in Sun Belt play and just missed another by one point. He is averaging 7.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, shooting 66.7 percent from the floor, the No. 1 mark in the Sun Belt.
· Senior Ryann Green is quickly moving up an elite list. Entering Monday, he has been a part of 73 wins, the fifth-most in program history. He is just one win shy of tying Devonta White and Rashaad Richardson for third. The school-record is 83 wins held by Lamont McIntosh and Donnie Davis.
· After a career-game of 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals on his birthday, Kevin Ware has not let up. The redshirt-junior has scored in double figures in four of the last six games. Ware is fourth in the Sun Belt averaging 2.1 steals per game. He is also third on the team averaging 8.4 points per game.
· Junior T.J. Shipes made his first start of the season against Green Bay on Dec. 4, and recorded his first career double-double, scoring a career-high 11 points and grabbing a career-high 11 rebounds. He started has started nine of the last 11 games and is averaging 6.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game this season.
Arkansas State (8-8, 3-4 Sun Belt) is led by the duo of Cameron Golden and Anthony Livingston who are both averaging more than 15.0 points per game. The Red Wolves have won back-to-back games following a 78-73 overtime win over Texas State on Saturday.
Following the game on Monday, Georgia State will return to action on Saturday hosting UL Lafayette at 2 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena. The game will air live on ESPN3.
• The 2013-14 Sun Belt regular season-champions enter the 2014-15 season with three returning starters along with eight newcomers, seven of which will be eligible to play during the season.
• The Panthers were unanimously selected by the Sun Belt Conference head coaches to win the league once again this year. The Panthers are 4-3 in the league (just a half game out of second place) and have won 21 of 25 conference games since returning to the Sun Belt.
• Georgia State has won 33 of its last 43 games dating back to last season, including 32 of 40 regular season games.
• Georgia State’s 11-7 start is the fifth-best 18-game start in program history.
• Georgia State’s 18-game home-court winning streak, the second-longest in program history, came to an end against Texas State on Jan. 5. At the time, it was tied for the ninth-longest in the country. The Panthers went 13-0 at home during the 2013-14 season and are 6-1 in 2014-15.
• Under head coach Ron Hunter, the Panthers are 42-11 in the GSU Sports Arena, a winning percentage of 79.2.
• The Panthers have won 12 of its last 20 true road games dating back to last season.
• Georgia State has been has high as No. 39 in the NCAA RPI this season. The Panthers played three non-conference games against teams ranked in the top 40, plus Green Bay which is 15-4.
• Georgia State’s four non-conference losses have come to teams with a combined 60-11 record. Iowa State (13-3) has been ranked in the AP Top 25 all season, while Colorado State (17-2) and Old Dominion (15-2) and are receiving votes. Green Bay (15-4) is ranked No. 4 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. The Panthers also scored a win over the Phoenix when they were ranked No. 1.
• R.J. Hunter and Ryan Harrow are combining to average 40.5 points per game, tied for the third-most of any duo in the country. The pair are one of just two duos in the NCAA ranked in the top 20 of points per game.
• With 1,492 points, R.J. Hunter is the No. 1 active scorer in the NCAA of all third-year players and the only junior ranked in the top 50.
• Georgia State is 12th in the NCAA with a 49.4 field goal percentage which ranks first in the Sun Belt. The Panthers have already had two of the top-10 field goal and 3-point field goal single-game shooting percentages in school history this year.
• Georgia State is among the top 30 in the NCAA in three key stats. The Panthers are ninth in the nation averaging 9.4 steals per game, seventh in turnover margin, currently at +5.4 per game and 27th in turnovers, averaging just 10.9 per game.
• Only six times in program history has a Panther averaged 20 or more points a game in a season. Currently two Panthers are averaging 20 or more. Senior Ryan Harrow is second in the Sun Belt and is 13th in the nation with a 20.4 points per game, while junior R.J. Hunter is third in the Sun Belt and 18th in the nation with a 20.1 points per game average. The last time it happened was when Thomas Terrell averaged 20.5 point per game during the 2001-02 season. The record is held by Ron Ricketts who averaged 21.1 points per game during the 1970-71 season. According to Iona Sports Information, the last time a school had two 20+ ppg scorers to finish a season was Hofstra in 2006-07 (Loren Stokes and Antoine Agudio).
• R.J. Hunter has been named to the prestigious John R. Wooden Watch List and Naismith Trophy list as one of the top 50 players in the country to watch.
• Junior R.J. Hunter was named the 2014-15 Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year and earned preseason all-conference first-team honors along with Ryan Harrow, while senior Curtis Washington was named to the third team.
• Junior R.J. Hunter is quickly moving up the ranks of several all-time records. Inside the #’s:
- Points: currently 2nd with 1,492; 23 shy of Rodney Hamilton’s 1,515
- 3-point Field Goals: currently 2nd with 216; 24 shy of Shellord Pinkett’s 240
- 3-point Field Goal attempts: currently 2nd with 598; 39 shy of Shellord Pinkett’s 637
- Field Goals Made: currently tied for 5th with 465; 123 shy of Chavelo Holmes’ school-record 588
- Free throws made: currently 3rd with 346; 15 shy of Phillip Luckydo’s 361
- Free throw percentage: currently 2nd at 82.8 percent; .010 behind Rodney Hamilton’s school-record of 83.8 percent.
- Steals: currently 5th with 148; 64 shy of Rodney Hamilton’s 212
• Head coach Ron Hunter continued a trend of bringing high-major transfers back to Atlanta. Late last spring, Hunter announced that Kevin Ware would be returning home (Conyers, Ga.) after three seasons at Louisville. Ware is unfortunately most known for a gruesome leg injury that he suffered during the Cardinals’ run to a national championship in 2013. The list of high-major transfers to the Panthers includes Ryan Harrow (Kentucky), Manny Atkins (Virginia Tech) and Jeremy Hollowell (Indiana), who will be eligible for the Panthers in 2015-16.
• R.J. Hunter became the 18th Panther to score 1,000-points in his career, needing just 55 games, the second fewest in program history (Phillip Luckydo - 49 games), accomplishing the feat against Troy (Feb. 15, 2014). Ryan Harrow is on pace to become the 19th Panther to reach the mark for GSU after scoring 604 points last year.
• Ron Hunter won his 50th game as the head coach of Georgia State against UL Lafayette last season, accomplishing the feat quicker than any previous Panther coach.
• Head coach Ron Hunter owns the records for the most wins in his first season, first two seasons and first three seasons of any coach in program history. In his first three seasons, he won 62 games, surpassing the total of Hall of Fame coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell who won 50 games during his first three seasons. Driesell won 79 games in his first four seasons, including the school-record 29 wins during the 2000-01 season. Hunter currently has 73 wins in his fourth season.